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Is it illegal to fly a quad??

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by mysticalice, Feb 19, 2014.

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  1. mysticalice

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    This evening after work I decided to fly my quad. On the outskirts of the city, but a few hundred feet from a major highway. Across the street is a large open field. It was night time and I flew for 5 or 6 minutes. A few people exited the highway and drove up to me saying they thought it was an alien or government plane. One guy said he had called the local news station and another said he had recorded it on his phone.

    None of the people that pulled over were upset, just curious. One guy did point out that people had PULLED OVER on the HIGHWAY to watch it flying. They were all amazed at the Phantom. All commented how much bigger it looks when flying at a distance.

    They all left amused, and I decided to pack up for the night, but it's had me thinking.... is there anything illegal about what I did? I never flew over any highway or really over any road. Definitely not over any houses. I love playing with this thing and I enjoy flying it at night more than during the day, but I'm worried I'm going to get a fine or arrested or something.

    Anyone have any insight on this? I've heard rumblings of local and national jurisdictions imposing regulations but never heard of being official.
     
  2. LuvMyTJ

    LuvMyTJ ADMINISTRATOR
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    Is this a P1, or P2 that uses the under arm lights for the status? Who would of thought it would be so visible from the highway? Assuming your in the US, and not near an airport, I would think if you had your back to the highway and were not flying over/near it or over people it should be OK. But thats me and I've been wrong before. :D
    So, did any news crews show up?
     
  3. TechJunkieRC

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    If you have permission of the land owner if it is not public land and if you are off of the highway right of way, which you should have been at several hundred feet as you stated, then I can't see how it would be illegal. Once people start to pull over on a "major highway" as you put it, there could be an argument that an issue of public safety has been created. This might cause a member of law enforcement to visit and request you to stop to reduce the chance of an accident.
     
  4. LeoS

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    Well one thing is for sure, it's a potent distraction for drivers at night for sure. I'd imagine it has the potential to trigger an accident if the road condition is unfavourable (lots of turns, bad lighting, two ways traffic, etc); so this would be something that the traffic authority would want to protect the people from..
     
  5. Ksc

    Ksc

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    Laws vary by your area. I'm sure if a cop wanted to find a reason to ticket or detain you, he could. I've found that if I'm flying at night, the red lights in the front screw up my footage (cast a red glow on everything) and since I fly mostly FPV now, the rear lights don't matter to me once I had GPS lock. I cover the lights with duct tape. My gopro lights are all off as well. You honestly wouldn't even know its in the air if you couldn't hear it. If it was painted black, you would never see it. Once I get high enough, you can't hear it over AC units and pool pumps. In my opinion thats the best way to night fly.

    Side note for day flying, I've also printed some little flyers that answer all the questions I get on a normal basis as well as all the components/prices/links to everything. It makes it easier for those who have questions and for me when flying. Its a good idea if you have extra paper and ink.
     
  6. mysticalice

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    I have the Phantom 1. I've got to admit - the coolest part of flying at night is the lights. The red/green look awesome! I didn't know the P2 didn't use the same lights - how do the P2 lights work?

    I actually flew the quad from the parking lot of my company's property - across the street is a huge open field that used to be a chemical company, but the land is condemned due to ground contamination, so it's been fenced off with barbed wire for the last 20 years. I would say in all my flying the closest I ever got to the highway was probably 50 feet to the side, at a height of 150 ft.

    The highway is a 14 lane highway - so fairly large :)

    I don't fly at night with a camera - i just fly for my own enjoyment in controlling the unit. Covering all the lights defeats the purpose of flying at night! I dunno - maybe it's just me, but that's like driving a sports car with a top speed of 10mph - it's just not fun!

    Good call on printing out the flyers. A few people asked me about

    As far as the news crews showing up - a helicopter flew around the area for a few minutes (at this point the drone was on the ground), and one of the guys that pulled over said it was Eyewitness news, who he'd called. I wasn't about to fly the drone after that with a helicopter in the area flying very low (probably 75-100 feet up), so i loaded it into my trunk. It could have been a coincidence, but the helicopter was low, and did a couple of passes. At night I couldn't see the logo written on the side of it though.

    I promise my intention flying at night is NOT to make people think it's an alien, a government spy plane, or anything else malicious or distracting. It was just very convenient to fly the drone from the parking lot of the company I work, across a large area of condemned land that I KNOW has no humans/houses below it. Guess I may have to find somewhere else to fly =(
     
  7. LuvMyTJ

    LuvMyTJ ADMINISTRATOR
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    I am awaiting my P2 which arrives Saturday. But from what I have seen the green lights do the job of the single led on the P1. So the greens have all the colors and reports to you what is happening. I like that better than trying to spot a single led on a 90 degree angle from my view a 100 feet over my head.
     
  8. mysticalice

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    Oh that is cool. Yeah I knew the P2 didn't have the single light like the P1 had, but I thought it didn't have ANY indicator lights - I agree, if the two green 'tail' lights on the P2 do the job of the single P1 light, that's way better- MUCH easier to see. I found myself flying the P1 closer to me and turning it around just so i could see the color of the light before flying further away :p
     
  9. maverick69

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    As far as I know the only restrictions are:
    You can't fly commercially. Yet. Right now you legally can't sell any footage.
    There is some disagreement if the regulations are 3 or 5 miles from an airport.
    No higher than 400 ft
    No flying over any civilization.
    Those are the only regs in the US. The rest of the world is much more open.
     
  10. EMCSQUAR

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    Is this a Star Fleet order?
     
  11. rotordan

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    The things you quote are not regulations in the US, some are recommendations of the FAA. There is a thread over in the P2V forum about this.

    The "rest of the world" is not much more open. It depends on which jurisdiction you are in. France for instance has quite detailed regulations. It is always a good idea to inform oneself about local laws before flying.
     
  12. Spiderx1

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    Worried about people pulling off the side of the road? Ever see how many people sit off the road at the end of the runway at the airport.
    And 3-5 miles has to do with what type airspace it is. I. E. A small local airport 3 miles, larger airports in bigger cities 5 miles, nautical miles, there are also altitudes associated with these. But how exactly this affects Rc aircraft??

    Sent from my SCH-I605 using Tapatalk
     
  13. pawnmeister

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    Ok...Debbie Downer here...you aren't doing any of us flyers a PR favor flying that close to a major hwy...I know its cool and very tempting...but you gotta have other places you can night fly...just my 2 cents. I got a hunch the frequency of these types of scenarios will explode in coming months as weather improves...be careful!
     
  14. jodaddy23

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    i agree , as more people get these things , bad apples will wreck it for the rest of us . its a count down thats coming .
     
  15. MILLER4PRESIDENT2020

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    if i live near a highway and put a bunch of christmas lights on my house and some guy pulls over because he wants to see them and causes an accident is that my fault? NO
    we have too many laws in this country protecting idiots
     
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  16. LuvMyTJ

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    Pretty sure you know exactly where they get it from... the FAA, Circular AC 91-57.
    While many quote it as law it is actually voluntary regulation that they 'encourage' you to follow.
     
  17. thongbong

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    The FAA. Look it up. If you don't want a complete ban of RC aerial craft, best follow their "suggestions".
     
  18. Visioneer

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    There's no reason for debate, just read the advisory for yourself. As others have opined, if quads proliferate into the hands of those who operate them carelessly, regulations will undoubtedly come to pass ... and they won't be "voluntary".

    I suspect "No flying over any civilization" is just someone's different wording for "sufficient distance from populated areas". I also imagine the noise concerns reflect the issue with gas powered engines that powered the bulk of RC and control line models before battery technology made electric flight feasible.
     

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  19. thongbong

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    Seriously? Don't fly over populated areas. I don't need to read any FAA to tell you that's in there some form or phrase or paraphrase. You think the FAA would put out those suggestions and neglect the most important. You can't even fly an ultralight over populated areas and those are safer the rc planes.
     
  20. LuvMyTJ

    LuvMyTJ ADMINISTRATOR
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    I completely agree with you that they are suggestions, not law. I thought I made that clear. Not sure why you quoted my post as no where did I perpetuate a myth. I said, and I quote, "While many quote it as law it is actually voluntary regulation that they 'encourage' you to follow."
     
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